Tag Archives: Georgia Pioneers

Cooper-Conner House, Circa 1798, Mount Vernon

Brewton-Parker College maintains a nice collection of historic structures* illustrative of pioneer life in rural Georgia from the late 18th century to the late 19th century. These are publicly accessible and there is no cost to visit. The most important of these is the Cooper-Conner House, built with slave labor for Revolutionary War veteran Richard Cooper (1758-1836) in the Dead River community [about nine miles from its present location]. Thomas Benton Conner bought the house from George Cooper in 1838. It was moved to this site in an effort to preserve it. [Some sources date this to 1779].

*-Most online references locate this on David-Eliza Fountain Circle, which is the front campus, but the Historic Village is actually located on Lakeshore Drive.

Montgomery County Historic Village, Brewton-Parker College

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Filed under --MONTGOMERY COUNTY GA--, Mount Vernon GA

Goshen United Methodist Church & Cemetery, Circa 1751 & 1820s, Rincon

Due to the growth of the Salzburger settlement at Ebenezer by the 1740s, a need arose for new churches to serve a dispersed population. Goshen Church was built about 1751, established about a mile from the present location as Goshen Lutheran Church.  Oral tradition states that when a malaria outbreak threatened the health and lives of Goshen’s congregants, they sawed the church in half and moved it to this site, where they rebuilt it. Goshen remained part of the Ebenezer Parish until after the American Revolution. Goshen had always been served by Lutheran pastors who preached in German, and because of the language barrier, Pastor Bergman invited Bishop Asbury to send Methodist preachers to reach the congregation. Moravian missionaries used the church as a meetinghouse after the Lutherans moved on.

In 1820, Reverend James O. Andrew established the Methodist congregation at Goshen and the Lutherans transferred the property a few years later. The Reverend Lewis Myers began his pastorate circa 1823 and served the church for many years.

Goshen was a town long before Rincon existed and was the site of the first post office in Effingham County. Local lore maintains the George Washington once visited the church trading post.

Goshen Cemetery

The earliest identified burials in Goshen Cemetery date to around the time the Methodists assumed ownership of the church and it is the final resting place of many Effingham County pioneers. The following monuments and headstones are presented randomly and I photographed them as much for their aesthetic appeal as their historical importance.

A brick enclosure, perhaps built by enslaved men, surrounds the gravesites of many members of the Gugel family, who were prominent members of the church and community.

Tomb of Hannah Gugel Nowlan (January 1791-10 September 1833) The slab reads: To the memory of Mrs. Hannah Nowlen Who departed this life Sept 10th 1833 Aged 42 years and 9 months

Can marble tell the worth of Spirit felt Where dust here mingles with its kindred dead: Say there – the faithful friend in silence rests. The Mother whose fond heart was tenderness. The Child whose filial joy of filial love
Now draw the parents hears to realms above, The sister loving constant, true, sincere The Christian meek to Zion precious one

Here rests in Hope

Mrs. Nowlan was the wife of George Galphin Nowlan, 1787-1816, Colonel in the War of 1812. Colonel Nowlan is buried in Memory Hill Cemetery, Milledgeville.

The tomb is signed by Savannah stonemasons Maxwell & Gow.

Margaret Waldhaur Gugel (8 April 1762-28 September 1844) and David Gugel (21 January 1764-24 April 1842) were the parents of Hannah Nowlan. David Gugel was a private and fifer in the Georgia Militia, enlisted in 1782. He served under General Anthony Wayne, helped build bridges and guard the Ebenezer magazine and the stores at Zubly’s Ferry.

Mary Ann Gugel Olcott (1797-24 January 1822) Mrs. Olcott was also a daughter of Margaret and David Gugel. She was married to Reverend James S. Olcott. The headstone indicates that two of her babies are buried here, as well.

Detail of headstone of Elizabeth Gugel Charlton (13 February 1793-11 July 1869) Mrs. Charlton was also a daughter of Margaret and David Gugel.

William Bandy (24 October 1799-24 May 1825) and Mary Bandy (16 October 1795-16 October 1825)

Tree of Life tympanum of Sarah Ann Black Zittrouer (14 December 1830-20 December 1899)

Tree of Life tympanum of William Josiah Zittrouer (10 September 1820-4 March 1895). Mr. Zittrouer was a Confederate veteran.

Cast iron boundary marker, Exley lot.

Bessie Margaret Exley (1892-1896)

 

 

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Filed under --EFFINGHAM COUNTY GA--, Rincon GA

McCants Gravehouses, Taylor County

Union Methodist Church Cemetery/Hays Campground Cemetery is located across the road from the Union United Methodist Church, though its history predates the congregation there. The cemetery contains the remains of the original settler of this section of what was then Talbot County, Jeremiah C. McCants (1808-1866), a native of South Carolina who founded the nearby crossroads community (now known as Jarrell) and also gave land, with Robert P. Hays (Hayes) in 1840 for the construction of a church and use as a cemetery. Union Church was originally used by both Baptists and Methodists. The Hays Campground, complete with tabernacle and tents, was also active here in the late 1800s but all remnants of the structures are gone. While extremely historic on the merits of its connection to the early history of Talbot County [this area became a part of Taylor County in 1852], it is most noted today for its antebellum wooden grave houses, covering the burial places of numerous area pioneers. It is believed that they are contemporary with the burials. All are constructed of pine and feature shake shingle roofs.

One shelter covers the grave of William George D. McCants, who died at just over a month old (3 April 1847-11 May 1847). The adjacent shelter is that of George R. McCants (8 July 1808-24 May1850), a brother to Jeremiah C. McCants].

This curious shelter, located in front of the more formal structures, marks a McCants burial, but I’m not sure which one.

Andrew Wood notes: This is my family! The stone at the left is my 5x great grandmother Sarah Black Hamilton McCants and the shelters cover the graves of two of her sons. She was born in Ireland to Dutch parents in 1765, settled on the Georgia frontier as a widow with 15 children before 1830 and lived to be 93!

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --TAYLOR COUNTY GA--, Jarrell 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

Tuckasee King Landing, Effingham County

The outpost of Tuckasee King, near present-day Clyo, was the first seat of Effingham County (1784-1787). It was named for a Euchee chief who lived in the area. Today, it’s best known as a landing on the Savannah River.

 

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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--

Mingledorff Farmhouse, Circa 1855, Effingham County

I’m grateful to Kenneth Dixon for sharing the history of this home: The Mingledorff Farmhouse was built in 1858 by Norman Mingledorff (1830-1864). “DG 1858” is carved into a brick near the top of the chimney, the initials most likely being those of Georgia Ann Dasher, Norman’s wife. The house has stayed in the Mingledorff family since it was built, and a descendant of Norman and Georgia is slowly trying to restore the house.

Dan Frawley writes: Norman was our great-great grandfather… we have been told through the family that the house was built in 1855. Also told that when a chimney was added back in the day, it was customary for the brick mason to add his initials and the year of completion …

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Filed under --EFFINGHAM COUNTY GA--

New Hope A. M. E. Church, 1885, Guyton

Celebrating its sesquicentennial this year, New Hope A. M. E. Church was founded by former slaves on 4 August 1869. It’s the oldest black church in Guyton and among the oldest A. M. E. congregations in Southeast Georgia. The original members, mostly the families of carpenters, farmers, turpentiners, and millers, had been members of Methodist churches and sought to build a congregation and community. The neighborhood came to be known as Sugar Hill.

I had the good fortune  of meeting Mrs. Pearl Powell Boynes, who graciously invited me inside the church with my camera. She was a delightful lady who has a background in history and great reverence for her ancestors’ contributions to New Hope. The above photo of her great-grandparents, George (born 1828) and Eve McCall, graces the vestibule of the church.

Reverend W. H. Wells was the first pastor. The church was built with rough-hewn lumber joined with wood pegs and square nails. Originally, the exterior was covered with hand-carved shingles and the walls made of hog-hair and cement plaster. Some of the shingles remain on the exterior. The chandelier in the middle of the sanctuary has been a prominent feature since around the turn of the century. It was originally gas-powered.

The hand-carved pews have been in use since the church was completed.

National Register of Historic Places

 

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Filed under --EFFINGHAM COUNTY GA--, Guyton GA

Bethel Brick United Methodist Church, 1827, Screven County

Brick Church was established on land given by the Reverend Payton Wade and built by enslaved persons from Sam Manor’s nearby Lebanon Forest plantation. Manor’s daughter Sarah was the wife of Reverend Wade, having married him upon the death of her first husband, the Reverend John Crawford. Upon Sarah’s death, Reverend Wade married her younger niece Elizabeth Robert. It’s the oldest extant church building in Screven County. So many early wooden churches have been lost to time, but Brick Church has weathered nearly two centuries. Reverend Wade owned over 500 slaves, and Brick Church counted far more African-American members than whites in the antebellum era. A slave gallery was located around the upper part of the interior but was later removed; the small windows (now boarded shut) along the top of the building are evidence of the gallery. James McBride is thought to have been the brick mason and a Mr. Potter the carpenter. The date the name was changed to Bethel is not confirmed, but thought to be in the 1860s.

A nice old cemetery stands adjacent to the church, the final resting place of numerous Wade descendants and relatives, among them numerous doctors and Confederate veterans.

Behind the church is a beautiful remnant pine forest and Tom Hudson Lake, a reservoir on Rocky Creek named for a former Wade Plantation manager.

 

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Filed under --SCREVEN COUNTY GA--

Gravesite of John Abbot, Bulloch County

John Abbot was one of the most important naturalists and artists working in early America, but because he generally eschewed publication and most of his work was only available to wealthy patrons and collectors, he has not been as appreciated as other notables of his era, including Alexander Wilson and John James Audubon. Credit is due the Georgia Historical Society for commissioning a delightful memorial marking Abbot’s burial place*, installed at the old McElveen Family Cemetery in Bulloch County. Publication of a collection of his ornithological paintings, John Abbot’s Birds of Georgia, by the Beehive Press in 1997, has done much to advance his reputation.

*-[detail, above]. Mary Stuart. Bronze Relief, after the circa 1804 self-portrait “John Abbot of Savannah, Georgia, America”. 1956. It is the only known image of the naturalist.

Born in London in 1751 to James and Ann Abbot, John was influenced from an early age by the impressive art collection of his lawyer father. Though the elder Abbot expected his son to read law, he also encouraged his interest in art and natural history, hiring the noted engraver Jacob Bonneau to instruct him. In his late teens, John Abbot clerked for his father’s law office but was far too distracted by his passion for natural history and art to give it serious consideration as a career.

He set out for Virginia aboard the Royal Exchange in 1773 and upon arrival resided briefly with Parke & Mary Goodall. By 1775 rising unrest in the colony prompted Abbot to leave, settling with Parke Goodall’s cousin William and his family in St. George Parish, Georgia (present-day Burke County). Sometime during the Revolutionary period he married a young woman named Sarah (maiden name unknown) and their son John, Jr., was born around 1779. During this time Abbot was actively collecting and illustrating Georgia’s insects and a large number were acquired by Sir James Edward Smith, founder of London’s Linnaean Society. Smith commissioned hand-colored engravings of the original Georgia watercolors and published them in 1797 as the  Natural History of the Rarer Lepidopterous Insects of Georgia Collected from Observations by John Abbot. It is considered the first major publication devoted to American entomology.

Spicebush Swallowtail on Sassafras, John Abbot, from the Natural History…, 1797. Public Domain Image.

The Abbots remained in Burke County, where John likely taught at Waynesboro’s Burke County Academy, until moving to Savannah in 1806. He was often in transit throughout the central Savannah River area in pursuit of specimens and new material. Sarah’s death in 1817 sent Abbot into a deep state of grief and poor health consumed him for at least two years, during which he was inactive. He finally settled in Bulloch County in 1818 and resumed collecting and drawing for patrons. He lived out his last years on the property of his friend William E. McElveen. His exact date of death is unknown, but thought to be 1839 or 1840.

In what has to be some of the most inspring language on any memorial in the state, the Georgia Historical Society notes of John Abbot: Talented artist and searching naturalist of birds and insects. – As a tribute to him and his work may you who stand here find pleasure in protecting the natural beauty of Georgia. – John Abbot lies buried in this woodland cemetery because of his love of nature and his long friendship with the McElveen family.

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Filed under --BULLOCH COUNTY GA--