Tag Archives: Antebellum South Georgia

Mulberry Grove, Circa 1832, Houston County

James Averette Bryan (1801-1847) and his wife Catherine Holloway Rix Bryan (1803-1861) were pioneer settlers of the long forgotten Wilna community. James A. Bryan migrated to Georgia from North Carolina, settling first in Twiggs County, and later in Houston. He was instrumental in the establishment of Houston County and in the layout of Perry [originally Wattsville]. Bryan originally built a log dogtrot house [pictured above] from timbers cut and milled on a site a few miles from Mulberry Grove. The original homestead was later occupied by Bryan’s oldest son, Dr. Robert Campbell Bryan, and his wife Eliza. [It survives but is not accessible to the public]. As his fortunes improved, Bryan constructed a more formal dwelling, known as Mulberry Grove, circa 1832* [pictured below, and in all subsequent photographs]. *-Some sources date the house to 1850, but discussions with two architectural historians and preservationists support the earlier date.

Mulberry Grove later became the home of Bryan’s third son, Abner Council Bryan and his wife, Harriet Taylor Bryan. Their son, John Averette Bryan and his wife, Linda Lee Bryan, eventually inherited it. Many members of the Bryan family are buried in an adjacent private cemetery, alongside the slaves who built and worked the plantation.

The most notable feature of the house is the rain porch (also referred to as a Carolina rain porch). Originally, there were only four stucco-covered posts but at some point two more were added for stability.

Rain porches are a very rare architectural element in Georgia.

The original kitchen is attached to the house by an enclosed breezeway. The addition of modern steps are one of the few overall modifications visible at the rear of the house.

Rear elevation (southeastern perspective)

Southern elevation, with double chimneys

 

PLEASE NOTE: Mulberry Grove is private property and is monitored closely by physical and digital means. I am grateful to have been invited by the new owner to photograph the property. He is very interested in making accurate historical renovations to the house and I believe he will be a good steward.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under --HOUSTON COUNTY GA--, Wilna GA

Lake Primitive Baptist Church, 1839, Candler County

One of the most historic congregations in the county, and one of the oldest Primitive Baptist congregations in existence, Lake Primitive Baptist Church traces its origins to 1823, when settlement in this section of Georgia was beginning to take hold. Several sources note that the present structure was built in 1839, but I’m unable to confirm at this time. In design, it is quite similar to Upper Lotts Creek Primitive Baptist, nearby. The adjacent Lake Cemetery is the largest in Candler County.

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Filed under --CANDLER COUNTY GA--

Plantation House, Circa 1850, Henderson

This transitional antebellum house is among the oldest standing in Houston County.

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Filed under --HOUSTON COUNTY GA--

Tomb of Governor Troup, Lothair

This sandstone enclosure is the de facto memorial to one of early Georgia’s best known politicians, Governor George Michael* Troup (8 September 1780-26 April 1856). The obelisk was placed in 1848 upon the death of Troup’s brother, Robert Lachlan Troup (1784-1848). The enclosure was built by slaves from sandstone quarried nearby at Berry Hill Bluff of the Oconee River.

*- Some sources assert that Troup’s middle name was actually McIntosh. This is due to the fact that Troup’s mother was a McIntosh and he was born at McIntosh’s Bluff on Alabama’s Tombigbee River, which was part of Georgia at the time of the governor’s birth.

Detail of engraving of George Troup from The Life of George M. Troup by Edward Jenkins Harden, 1859. Public domain.

Governor Troup spent most of his time after his 1833 retirement at Val d’ Osta, his home in Dublin. He died while visiting Rosemont Plantation, one of numerous properties he owned in Laurens and Montgomery counties. A man of his time, Troup was a fierce supporter of slavery, owning around 400 human beings during his lifetime. It is also suggested that, like many slave owners, he fathered children with some of his female slaves.

Troup served as a state representative, member of the House of Representatives, United States senator, and two-term governor of Georgia (1823-1827).  Georgia’s best-known politician of the era, William Harris Crawford, encouraged Troup to run for governor. His first run was unsuccessful, due largely to the deep divide between the aristocratic planter class (by now known as Troupites) and the common farmers and frontier settlers (known as Clarkites, for John Clark) that had dominated state politics since the late 18th century. The state largely favored the Clarkites, but when Clark chose not to run in 1823, Troup was elected as an alternative. As a Democratic-Republican governor he ensured the removal of the Creek peoples from Georgia, a dubious achievement from a modern perspective. His endorsement of the Treaty of Indian Springs was met with an amended version from President John Quincy Adams, who favored allowing the Creeks slightly more land, but Troup ordered the militia to enforce his version. President Adams capitulated, not wanting to go to “war” with Troup over the Indian issue. He eventually became a strong Jacksonian Democrat and was nationally recognized for being a champion of states’ rights.

The ornamental iron gate was designed by Savannah blacksmiths D. & W. Rose.

Governor Troup was the namesake of Troup County, and Troupville, the first permanent county seat of Lowndes County. The present county seat of Lowndes County, Valdosta, is named for his plantation, Val d’ Osta.

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Filed under --TREUTLEN COUNTY GA--, Lothair GA

McArthur House, Circa 1830s, Wheeler County

Situated behind the iconic Woodland plantation house is this amazing survivor, an enclosed dogtrot thought to have been built by the first McArthur family member to settle here; their ownership of the land dates to 1827. It is possibly the oldest house in Wheeler County. After use as a storage shed for many years, it was restored in 1993.

 

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Filed under --WHEELER COUNTY GA--

Wimberly-Roberts House, 1840, Bainbridge

This is presently home to the Commodore Bed & Breakfast.

Bainbridge Residential Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --DECATUR COUNTY GA--, Bainbridge GA

Evans-Sexton House, 1855, Bainbridge

This Second Empire cottage was built by Oliver Sexton and the property originally included over 26 acres. The porte-cochère is not original to the house and is an unfortunate modernization.

Bainbridge Residential Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --DECATUR COUNTY GA--, Bainbridge GA

Site of Camp Recovery, Decatur County

A medical camp was established at this site in September 1820 by Dr. Thomas Lawson, surgeon of the 7th U. S. Infantry (and future Surgeon General), to care for soldiers suffering from malaria at nearby Fort Scott, a frontier outpost on the Flint River. It was thought that the higher elevation of the camp, away from the mosquito-infested swamps surrounding the fort would lead to the soldiers’ recovery, but around 40 died nonetheless, due to heavy rains followed by a period of cold weather. The campsite was abandoned by November 1820. Graves are unmarked but the site was first memorialized in 1882. In 1971, N. L. Sellars erected this gate to identify the site.

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Filed under --DECATUR COUNTY GA--, Recovery GA

Mizpah United Methodist Church, 1859, Effingham County

From the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church: In the late 1850s, Dr. Ayer from Rome came to the community to visit his daughter, Mrs. Anderson P. Longstreet, who lived in the community. There was no Methodist church in the area at this time and so Dr. Ayer contributed financially to funding a church. Lewis Grovenstein, Benjamin C. Porter, and A. P. Longstreet was selected to organize the new sanctuary and four acres were selected from property owned by George W. Best. The new structure was a frame building measuring thirty-five feet by fifty feet by thirteen feet and was completed in December 1859. On March 18, 1860, the church was organized with twenty females and twenty males on the roll. This church was served by two pastors, Rev. B. F. Breedlove and Rev. L. L. Strange. The first quarterly conference was held in September 1866, under the pastorate of Rev. N. D. Morehouse. In 1885, money was collected to “remodel, repair and paint” the church and, in 1886, the roof was extended in the front and pews were built…In August 1945, electricity was installed at Mizpah… Also in the 1940s, the inside of the sanctuary was remodeled so that the separate entrances and seating for men and women were changed to one double door and one center aisle. In 1953, the wood burning stove was replaced with a gas heater…

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Filed under --EFFINGHAM COUNTY GA--

Mount Pleasant, Circa 1830, Effingham County

This home was built by John Gindrat Morel (1808-1871) and surely took its name from the nearby Uchee Indian settlement and English trading post known as Mt. Pleasant, on a high bluff of the Savannah River. One of Georgia’s earliest forts was located at Mt. Pleasant, under the command of Captain Thomas Wiggin, an Indian trader. Morel was a relative of Pierre Morel, whose descendants owned Ossabaw Island for more than a century, beginning in 1760. He was married to Elizabeth Kennedy, a great-granddaughter of John Adam Treutlen (1733-1782), Georgia’s first popularly elected governor. Thanks to Kenneth Dixon for background and genealogical information.

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Filed under --EFFINGHAM COUNTY GA--