This house and the Bond-Carroll House about twelve miles from town are said to have been built by brothers. I imagine it had other occupants after the Bonds but it’s best known today as the longtime residence of Don & Norma Morris. It is slightly more formal than the country house.
Tag Archives: –BEN HILL COUNTY GA–
Lydia Cook shared this history of the house, via Ramona Hansbrough: The house was built in 1910 by E.E. Hawks, married to my great grandmother, Ina Strickland Hawks. The story goes that he wanted to build a home on high ground in Fitzgerald, Ga. He spared nothing when purchasing materials, even to having the gorgeous wood fireplaces imported from England. E.E. Hawks was from Commerce Ga., and so was Ina Strickland .They married and in 1910 moved into the new home in Fitzgerald. E.E. Hawks passed away in 1939 on a business trip to Atlanta. Ina continued to live in the house and her daughter, Ruby Hawks Mann and her husband lived in the house with her mother. After a few years, in 1957 Mama Hawks passed away, so her daughter Ruby Hawks Mann and her husband E.C. Mann continued to live in the house.
In 1961 the house went from the Mann family to the Cox family. Henry and Lila Cox, my dad’s parents bought the house and lived there until 1982 when both passed away. At that time, my parents Elzie H. Cox and Elaine Mann Cox bought the house from the brothers, Edward Cox and Billy Cox. Elzie passed away in 2001, but Elaine still lived there alone until 2008 when she moved back to Florida to be near her daughters, Ramona and Melanie.
When I was paying my respects to family members recently, I came across this memorial in Evergreen Cemetery. The name was familiar because when I was growing up, I recall my grandmother and great-grandmother speaking fondly of Lark Martin as Fitzgerald’s most famous hero of World War II. They even had a copy of The Saturday Evening Post which featured a story about him. Captain Lark E. Martin, Jr., was born on 9 October 1922 and when he was still a teenager, he was already a B-24 pilot serving in the Pacific Theater with the Jolly Rogers Bomber Squadron, 5th Air Force, based in Port Moresby, New Guinea. A little over a month before his 20th birthday, on 2 September 1943, while piloting the “Battlin’ Betts”, Martin was killed in action. His co-pilot, engineer, radio tech, and five passengers were also lost.
This is the oldest house in the city of Fitzgerald, dating to the year the city was colonized by Union veterans; at the time of its construction it was considered a country house but is well within the city limits today. [I grew up just across a large pecan orchard from it]. It was built by original settler Adrian Hageman, who served as a corporal in Company D, 93rd Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, during the Civil War. His wife was Fannie Protsman Hageman, a native of Vevay, Indiana. It was restored by their grandson, Charlie A. Newcomer, Jr., in 1970.
Fitzgerald historian Paul Dunn relayed this history to my father via telephone: This was L. D. Wright’s grocery store. Railroad employees charged their purchases and later “picked up” their tickets and paid their balances in the store. L. D. Wright ran two “store trucks” and traveled the area trading groceries for chickens, eggs, etc. The trucks were loaded with chicken crates to facilitate this practice.
A decal on the door revealed during a recent cleanup of the property suggests that Wright was associated with the RIO brand. RIO, an acronym for Retail Independently Owned, was a grocery syndicate once associated with hundreds of small grocers all over Georgia.