Tag Archives: Georgia Landmarks

Restoration of the Kinlaw Rosenwald School, Camden County

Marshall Glover

While photographing in Camden County with Cynthia Jennings yesterday, I met Mr. Marshall Glover. Mr. Glover is leading the work of restoring the historic Kinlaw Rosenwald School, which was built in 1921. The formal education of African-American children in Kinlaw began in a one-room schoolhouse built on the site in 1896.

The African-American community of Kinlaw was very progressive and embraced better education for its children. Upon learning of the existence of the Rosenwald grants from Matilda Harris, Camden County’s supervisor of black schools, the people of Kinlaw began exploring the possibility of replacing their schoolhouse with a better facility. They raised $909 and with matching contributions and grants began construction on this structure in 1920, with the first classes beginning in 1921. The school offered instruction for children from first to seventh grade and was one of three Rosenwald facilities in the county. Kinlaw is the only one that survives today.

Mr. Glover told me that his father and grandfather both attended the school and that he was glad to be doing the restoration as a way of honoring them. He noted that he has been working for over a year and spent much of that time caulking the tongue-and-groove paneling. He pointed out that the excellent material and construction of the school has been evident during the restoration, with much of the work being cosmetic. He stated that there were some parts of the floor that were compromised due to leaks in the old roof, but they are getting to that work now. With a team of volunteers, he has done an excellent job.

Please consider a contribution to continue this important work. Secure donations can be made here.

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Filed under --CAMDEN COUNTY GA--, Kinlaw GA

Cook House, Toombs County

This vernacular cottage is one of the most unique I’ve ever photographed and is well-maintained. I believe it was originally a residence but is likely now used as a cabin. This photograph dates to 2014.

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Filed under --TOOMBS COUNTY GA--

Ebenezer Cemetery, McIntosh County

Izear Day [5 February 1915-18 January 1931]

Though the headstone pictured above is the most unique in the cemetery, I have chosen to document the site due to its considerable collection of vernacular headstones. Ebenezer (spelled Ebernezer on the sign) is actually two cemeteries, located off Churchill Road near I-95. A fenced section is the white cemetery while the surrounding larger cemetery is the domain of African-Americans, a few of whom were born into slavery and others who represent the first generation after emancipation. The African-American section is what is represented here.

Charlie Ifield Thorpe [Circa 1877-1914]

The predominant vernacular form in this cemetery is the homemade star-adorned headstone, a locally made type that is well-represented in the nearby Gould Cemetery at Harris Neck. It’s possible that all of these were the work of the same maker. They follow in no particular order but many of the examples are memorials for the Thorpe family.

Thelma B. Thorpe [Unknown-18 November 1941]
Alice Thorpe [5 December 185116 September 1923]
Eddie Thorpe [Circa 1880-1922]
James C. Thorpe [20 August 1847-16 March 1939]
Affie White [1842-16 August 1931]
Ida Leake [Circa 1885-1921]
Irvin Weldon [16 August 1909-19 February 1936]
Rachel (York) Shellman [1881-6 October 1923] Born at Broxton GA
Susie G. Ross [25 September 1855-6 April 1943]
Reverend Pompie Anderson [12 September 1870-7 May 1949]
James B. Churchill [17 January 1897-19 February 1951]
J. C. Churchill [22 May 1867-16 May 1951] This stone features an O. E. S. Masonic emblem but is eroding quickly.
Mary E. Churchill [5 July 1879-17 July 1968] Wife of J. C. Churchill
Mary J. Jackson [Unknown-9 September 1925]
Proverb R. Roberson [6 June 1910-18 December 1955] Private 548 Quartermaster Service BN World War II
Pernellar Roberson [Unknown-3 January 1925] Born in Buckville SC, Died in Christ
The headstone for Brother Willie N. Alston is professionally made, but his footstone (below) and those of two other family members are more modern interpretations of vernacular types common in African-American cemeteries of the early 20th century.
Brother Willie N. Alston [15 January 1895-December 1974] Footstone
Brian Keith Alston [1 September 1975-6 December 1983]
Jessie Alston [29 July 1941-14 July 1968]
Hattie Hillery [15 September 1881-10 January 1928] This stone is the same style as two found in Behavior Cemetery on Sapelo Island and may have connections to those.

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Filed under --MCINTOSH COUNTY GA--

Macedonia Baptist Church, Circa 1930, Sterling

This historic African-American church was built circa 1930 and serves the Sterling community. I’m not sure if it has always been affiliated with the same congregation but will update it when possible.

This post begins our merger with Vanishing Coastal Georgia.

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Filed under --GLYNN COUNTY GA--, Sterling GA

Jones-Winburn House, Circa 1850s, Midville

Mary M. Rugg writes: This is the Jones-Winburn home, built in the mid 1800’s of [hand-hewn] native pine logs pinned together with wooden pegs. It was the first house in Midville. The original pine log foundation was given to James A. Jones as a wedding gift from his father F. A. Jones. It is believed that the original pine log house had been in the family since before the Revolutionary War.

Jones Lindgren notes that a distant relative, Bess Jones Winburn lived here until her death in the 1960s. It has hints of an Augusta Sand Hills Cottage, though is not nearly as elevated as most examples of that style. The recessed dormers are an unusual feature.

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Filed under --BURKE COUNTY GA--, Midville GA

Rosier, Georgia

Were it not for the shiny new silos, Rosier would appear to be a ghost town, but while it may be more commercial than residential, it’s still a busy part of Burke County.

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Filed under --BURKE COUNTY GA--, Rosier GA

General Store, Rosier

This was a general store in its earliest incarnation. It’s now part of the extensive agribusiness concern located in Rosier.

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Filed under --BURKE COUNTY GA--, Rosier GA

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.

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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.

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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.

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Filed under --JEFFERSON COUNTY GA--