David Baldwin writes: The house was built by John Samuel Betts. He and Mr. WW Ashburn starting buying property over here in June 1888, before the railroad connected north of Ashburn in late October, 1888. First Mr. Betts had a house at Wanee Lake, but later moved to Ashburn. I cant recall the exact date he built this house, likely 1890’s but well before 1900. He was mayor of Ashburn for twenty years and ran a saw mill that employed 100 people, 60 black and 40 whites. He was a great Christian but the saw mill went broke in 1912 due to over supply in the industry. He once told someone that the only thing he hated about being broke was than he was not able to help people as he had always done before. He died in 1918 and four town leaders spoke for him at his funeral at the Methodist Church. He was from Clayton, Georgia originally but they ran out of logs there and came to Eastman, starting his new mill six miles north of Eastman at a spot called Dempsey. He lost a son when the son was 20 years old. He knew Mr. Ashburn, J.S. Shingler, D.H Davis, Mr. Evans and all the town founders very well.
Betts, whose sawmill was the reason Ashburn came into being, was also the first mayor of the town. He commissioned a prominent architect, Peter E. Dennis, to design this home in 1897.
Jerry Shealy Powell adds: My grandfather, Lawrence Bunyon Shealy, was in the lumber business. He moved his family to Turner County between 1925-1929. Prior to moving to Turner County he owned a sawmill in Florida and others in Adrian, Camilla and Ellenton, Georgia. He purchased the Ashburn Lumber Company and managed a naval stores operation. In the middle 1940’s he bought the John Samuel Betts home and restored it. My father said he hand picked all the pine for the floors. For more than forty plus years the home remained in our family and was known as the “L.B. Shealy Home”. My grandmother, Ruby Clyde, outlived her husband and children.
Subsequent owners have done a nice job of maintaining the house.
Shingler Heights Historic District, National Register of Historic Places