Butler’s Mill, Burke County

This mill on Brushy Creek is located on private property. I photographed it from the roadside. I’d like to know more about its history.

1 Comment

Filed under --BURKE COUNTY GA--

Smith Grove Cemetery, Jefferson County

This well-maintained African-American cemetery contains a collection of vernacular headstones of statewide importance, both as artifacts of ingenuity in the face of adversity and as sacred ground to the loved ones of those interred here. Thanks to Cynthia Jennings for making me aware of the site. Smith Grove [Smiths or Smith’s in some references] members made the best of what was available to them, which was typical of rural congregations. Many of the memorials are nearly unreadable*, but consider that at the time they were made, most rural African-American schools were grossly underfunded and were barely able to provide the basics of an education, and the makers of these were likely “drawing” the letters as opposed to writing them. I believe Smith Grove Cemetery should be on the National Register of Historic Places.

*-All names and dates that follow are presumed to be correct but the nature of the script makes it difficult to be completely accurate

Triangular Headstones

There are four triangular memorials, likely all accomplished by the same maker. Dates on Findagrave for these stones are not completely accurate. The way the numbers are positioned makes it nearly impossible to determine an actual date, in most cases.

Alex Stone (10 August 1862-22 November 1930). The date of Mr. Stone’s birth would indicate he was likely born into slavery.
Ed Way (1873-?)
Billie Lee Way (1865-1902).
Reverend B. T. Smith (1900-?). It is possible that Reverend Smith was the first pastor here and of the family for whom the church was named. [The name is listed as B. C. Smith on Findagrave, but I believe that may be an error in translation].

Unique Headstones

Inell Belle (2 December 1932-1944). This unique memorial is perhaps the most interesting of all the vernacular headstones at Smith Grove. I believe it represents a crown and/or the trinity.

This is the back side of the Inell Bell monument.

Unknown Memorial. It appears at first to resemble a keystone, but I don’t know if that was intentional. The rectangle in the middle likely once served as a frame for a piece of glass that held something of importance. The grave of PFC Robert W. Lockhart (not pictured), while a simple form, also has such a space and retains the original glass.
This side of the memorial has an even more complicated appearance, including incised areas that seem to be purposeful.
Tora Hymes (18 February 1864-?). This is a small wedge-shaped stone. I am not sure if the name I have given is correct.
Unknown. Stacked stones were once a common way to mark burials in African-American and white cemeteries, especially in rural locations.

Round Headstones

Sanie Brown (2 December 1932-1944)
Jessie Campbell (1931-1953)
Willie J. Hymes (1895-1945)

Traditional (Rectangular/Square) Headstones

Mell Berrie (1890?-February 1930). This is identified as Nell Berrie on Findagrave but I believe it to be Mell.
Unknown Avera (1850-1936). The first name is unreadable but contains an “o”, and an “r”. The surname is misidentified on Findagrave as Iveya. Avera was a common name in the area at one time.
Elex Tyler (14 November 1933-14 July? 1934)
Tom Hymes (February 1886-January 1920)
Professor L. W. Seabrook (January 1864-October 1956). Many of the later headstones in the cemetery use a form slab and stenciled letters.
The beautiful churchyard at Smith Grove.

8 Comments

Filed under --JEFFERSON COUNTY GA--

J. S. Cato House, Jefferson County

Nancy Shore contacted me several years ago about photographing this house, which belonged to her great-grandfather, and I’m glad I finally got to do so. Nancy notes that it has been unoccupied for over 30 years.

The view from the front porch isn’t bad.

The main entryway, with sidelights and transom, is typical of houses built in the late 19th century.

Inverted saw-tooth pyramids adorn the eaves and are the most impressive ornamental feature of this otherwise typical gabled-ell farmhouse.

The house also features an enclosed rear addition, itself a winged-gable form, which possibly originated as a separate kitchen. This is a common modificaton with this form.

Leave a comment

Filed under --JEFFERSON COUNTY GA--

Old Mt. Olive Baptist Church & School, Circa 1909, Jefferson County

This historic African-American congregation is still active and this structure is adjacent to the associated cemetery. I am unaware of the history of the church, but it is possible that itwas established by former slaves of the Old Town plantation, located nearby.

This structure is located near the old church, and may have been a schoolhouse. Near the newer church is also a structure which appears to have been a school. I hope to learn more.

1 Comment

Filed under --JEFFERSON COUNTY GA--

Double-Pen Log House, Tattnall County

The original part of this structure was recently revealed when asbestos siding was removed. I’ve driven past it numerous times over the years and always believed it to be “older” than it looked. Thanks to Raven Waters for making me aware of the work being done; I’m unsure if it will be saved.

It has obviously been modified over time, with the higher roof line and chimney being later additions, though the chimney is made of handmade brick, indicating that the changes were made many years ago. It’s possible that the windows and/or door were cut out of the earlier structure. Most surviving houses of this type in Georgia date to the late 19th-early 20th centuries.

1 Comment

Filed under --TATTNALL COUNTY GA--

McElheney Tenant House, Jasper County

This saddlebag tenant house is similar in style to the typically taller New England saltbox house. This is due to the shed room at the back of the house. Thanks to Carlton Henderson for the identification.

This post begins our merger with Vanishing North Georgia.

Leave a comment

Filed under --JASPER COUNTY GA--

Mr. Fish Fry King, Cordele

This a soul food-seafood restaurant. The murals are nice.

1 Comment

Filed under --CRISP COUNTY GA--, Cordele GA

Double Shotgun Tenant House, Terrell County

This once-common form has become quite rare today. The house is divided into two residences by a wall through the middle.

1 Comment

Filed under --TERRELL COUNTY GA--

Antebellum Farmhouse, Lamar

Though the house has obviously (thankfully) been restored, I believe it may have originated in the antebellum era. The sidelights appear to have been altered, but otherwise the profile of the house is fairly authentic. It’s located near the long forgotten community of Lamar. I hope to learn more.

Leave a comment

Filed under --SUMTER COUNTY GA--, Lamar GA

Hebron Baptist Church, Sumter County

Hebron Baptist Church is located south of Americus. Steve Short writes: This church was founded in July 1894 by Rev. Augustus C. Wellons (1854-1932), who is buried at Lebanon Cemetery in Plains. Hebron celebrated its 125th anniversary in July 2019. Notably, dozens of descendants of Rev. Wellons’ niece Eugenia Wellons Short are members of Hebron today. Rev. Wellons and his sons built many houses and structures in nearby Plains, including Plains Baptist Church and the two-story Wellons House, formerly known as the Plains Bed & Breakfast Inn.

1 Comment

Filed under --SUMTER COUNTY GA--, Americus GA