Tag Archives: Georgia Ghost Towns

Wesley Chapel Methodist Church, 1890, & Cemetery, Circa 1840, Beatrice

The only information I’ve been able to locate on the history of Wesley Chapel, located in the forgotten community of Beatrice, is that it was established in 1838.

That date comes from the old South Georgia Conference-provided sign at the front of the church. The sign is of a type used by the conference in the 1930s-1940s or thereabouts.

An architectural survey dates the present structure to 1890. The stained glass windows appear to be later additions.

Perhaps as interesting as the church itself is the historic cemetery which lies adjacent to the structure. The earliest burials I noted dated to the early 1840s. The cemetery affords excellent views of the surrounding countryside and is characterized by two large enclosures made of local stone. They are great examples of early vernacular funerary architecture.

The shady respite of the Sims Plot is enclosed by a local stone fence, abundant with Resurrection Fern.

The Sims family were early members of the Wesley Chapel congregation.
Sarah P. Sims [22 October 1827-8 June 1845]
Elizabeth S. Sims [14 November 1846-3 February 1859]
Martha A. Seabrook Sims [2 February 1814-25 October 1854]

The plot of pioneer Thomas Turner House [18 April 1787-14 June 1851] & Elizabeth Young House [20 Jun 1787-5 December 1863] and family is made of local red stone and is a massive enclosure.

A gate once guarded the plot but is long gone.

The fence was well built and has survived largely intact, though this section has collapsed. It is likely descendants have made repairs over the years.

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Filed under --STEWART COUNTY GA--, Beatrice GA

Shiloh-Marion Baptist Church, 1835, Marion County

The lost community that came to be known as Church Hill was opened to white settlers by the Land Lottery of 1827. To accommodate new arrivals, Native American trading routes were improved or superseded by the creation of new roads. In 1832, Timothy Barnard’s Path, which ran from Columbus to St. Marys, became known as the St. Marys Road or the Old Salt Trail. At a point between Kinchafoonee Creek and Lanahassee Creek, where three roads crossed St. Marys Road, five churches were built in a relatively short time, including: Mt. Pisgah (Kinchafoonee) Free Will Baptist (date unknown); Shiloh Baptist (1835); Christian Union (1840); Smyrna Associate Reformed Presbyterian (1838); and Evan Chapel Methodist (1838). Records indicate a school known as Centerville Academy was formed by the Smyrna trustees in 1838, suggesting the original name for the community was Centerville. It is unclear when the moniker of Church Hill came into use, but it first appeared on maps in 1870. The Church Hill post office was operational from 1893-1903, so it is likely that the area suffered a significant population decline at the beginning of the 20th century.

Shiloh-Marion is the last remaining church of the five that gave Church Hill its name and is a great example of vernacular Greek Revival architecture, common in antebellum churches in Georgia. A sign at the church notes the founding date as 1812, the year of the first mission; further documentation gives the founding date as 1835, when eleven members joined the Bethel Baptist Association. The church structure is believed to be contemporary to the latter date.

Shiloh-Marion Baptist Church  Cemetery, 1830s

The cemetery is a fascinating landmark in its own right, containing typical Victorian monuments and an unusual collection of stone markers. The stones are either stacked in elongated triangular forms or used as fencing. There has been some speculation that they are Native American in origin and to my knowledge there are no familial claims by church members. This still doesn’t get anywhere near evidence of Native American ties, but t’s worthy of investigation either way.

A sign and wooden cross mark the slave cemetery.

Unmarked concrete stones have been placed at approximate burial locations.

 

 

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Filed under --MARION COUNTY GA--, Church Hill GA

New Fellowship Primitive Baptist Church, Marion County

This is located near the historic community of Church Hill.

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Filed under --MARION COUNTY GA--, Church Hill GA

Abandoned House, Rupert

I believe this was a house, but it’s possible it was a store. It’s located at the center of what was once Rupert. It’s difficult to distinguish the town site today.

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Filed under --TAYLOR COUNTY GA--, Rupert GA

Brown Grist Mill, Yonker

This little building at Yonker is what remains of the Brown Grist Mill. Thanks to Frank Brown for the identification.

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Filed under --DODGE COUNTY GA--, Yonker GA

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

Machine Shop, Bullard

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Filed under --TWIGGS COUNTY GA--, Bullard GA

Historic Storefront, Bullard

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Filed under --TWIGGS COUNTY GA--, Bullard GA

Holliday Food Store, Higgsville

This store was owned by Marion Vinson “Doc” Holliday (1902-1987), who also served on the county commission and drove a school bus for many years. I believe it was open until the late 1980s. Thanks to Ladonna Johnson for the identification.

I’ve not been able to find much information about Higgsville. A post office was established here in 1833 and A. B. Higgs was the first postmaster. The post office closed in 1843. It’s not on any map today, but the name lives on through an historic African-American church in the community. I suspect it was a plantation community and may have been a ghost town by the end of the Civil War. It appears on census rolls at least until 1940.

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Filed under --TWIGGS COUNTY GA--, Higgsville GA

Capron, Georgia

I first thought this are to be a community known as Jalappa, since the road is named Jalappa and a list of U. S. post offices makes reference to a post office at Jalappa from 1851-1855. Further research is required on Jalappa. However, as to the places seen here, Sammy Lester writes:  This is my family home. It was a plantation at one time. The mail came from Montezuma by horseback. The name is Capron. My Grandfather named the post office after the first officer that fell going up San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt. Once there was a cotton gin, grist mill, a shingle mill and blacksmith shop along with the general store. The wooden building (above) is the original store and you can still see the mail slot. Capron circa 1898!

The brick storefront (below) dates to 1910, and most of the structure is gone.

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Filed under --DOOLY COUNTY GA--, Capron GA